Philips Lighting launches indoor, tunable-white LED lighting platform (VIDEO)

Aug. 24, 2016
Six major luminaire series from various Philips Lighting brands offer support for the new tunable-white SSL platform that relies on the company's Dynalite network control platform.

Six major luminaire series from various Philips Lighting brands offer support for the new tunable-white SSL platform that relies on the company's Dynalite network control platform.

Philips Lighting has announced what it is simplistically calling the Philips Tunable White System, which is actually a comprehensive offering involving major luminaire families, centralized controllers and gateways, and user-interface panels from the Antumbra family. The new platform will feature luminaires that can be set to any CCT between 2700K and 6500K. Philips specifically identified offices, schools, retail spaces, and healthcare facilities as target markets for the solid-state lighting (SSL) offering rolling out across North America.

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The usage model for the new LED lighting could range from human-centric lighting (HCL) concepts such as using cooler CCTs in the morning to boost office productivity to more mainstream ideas such as user preference or presenting retail goods in the best possible light. "Lighting has a profound effect on the human body, how we feel, and how we function," said Rahul Shira, product manager for controls and software at Philips Lighting. "Whether it is student focus in the classroom, employee comfort in the office, shopper behavior inside the store, or patient recovery in the hospital, it is quite easy and exceedingly beneficial to customize an indoor space and recreate the effects of natural light."

The move by Philips into tunable lighting is not a surprise. The company has long had the Hue family of tunable retrofit lamps including color and white models, and has participated in a number of trials with tunable luminaires. As far back as 2013 at LightFair International (LFI), we identified tunable products as a leading trend. And at LFI this past April, Acuity Brands introduced the Mainstream Dynamic tunable system for schools, skirting the use of the HCL moniker but surely relying on HCL principles. Clearly, all of the mainstream LED lighting companies are moving to offer tunable-white products.

Of course, the implementations will vary. Philips is using a two-channel light engine with strings of LEDs at each end of the CCT range mentioned earlier. By varying the intensity of each string individually, you can achieve any CCT between the extremes and also vary intensity, providing a dimming function.

The control architecture of the Philips offering is on the complex side being that it depends on the Dynalite platform that dates to legacy sources. The nearby figure depicts the network architecture. The DyNet network is based on the RS-485 standardized serial interface and is used to connect elements such as sensors and control panels. The heart of the system is what Philips calls a load controller. With legacy sources, that load controller might include the ability to power lighting circuits, switch circuits on and off, implement phase-cut dimming, and output 0–10V controls. With LED lighting, the simplest controllers in the Philips portfolio are little more than gateways between DyNet, IT networks like Ethernet, building-management networks such as BACnet, and DALI (digital addressable lighting interface) links to LED luminaires. Indeed, all of the Philips luminaires that support the new tunable-whitetechnology are DALI based.

Lighting designers/specifiers can install the DyNet-connected Antumbra family of panels and controls for use with the new system. As the nearby image suggests, touch-panel controllers allow users to simply choose from room-oriented preset environments such as calm, presentation, standard, and focus. Or users can individually adjust the intensity of each LED string in a luminaire to achieve custom settings. For implementations that include a bridge to the IT network, smartphones and tablets connected via Wi-Fi can also be used to control the system.

Philips is launching the tunable-white platform with a large number of luminaires available that will allow designers/specifiers to deploy in complex office and similar environments. For example, Philips Day-Brite luminaires include the ClearAppeal, EvoGrid, and SofTrace troffer families, The Ledalite options include the BoldPlay and FloatPlane linear pendants and surface-mount luminaires. And the Lightolier brand adds a variety of downlights.

About the Author

Maury Wright | Editor in Chief

Maury Wright is an electronics engineer turned technology journalist, who has focused specifically on the LED & Lighting industry for the past decade. Wright first wrote for LEDs Magazine as a contractor in 2010, and took over as Editor-in-Chief in 2012. He has broad experience in technology areas ranging from microprocessors to digital media to wireless networks that he gained over 30 years in the trade press. Wright has experience running global editorial operations, such as during his tenure as worldwide editorial director of EDN Magazine, and has been instrumental in launching publication websites going back to the earliest days of the Internet. Wright has won numerous industry awards, including multiple ASBPE national awards for B2B journalism excellence, and has received finalist recognition for LEDs Magazine in the FOLIO Eddie Awards. He received a BS in electrical engineering from Auburn University.